Tag Archives: Jo-Blankenburg

New #music – Valkyrie by Jo Blankenburg

Valkyrie is big, epic music but with Blankenburg’s iconic melodies woven through each track. This Youtube link is to a 20 minute collection and well worth the listen:

Jo Blankenburg and Thomas Bergersen [Two Steps From Hell] both have the ability to write achingly beautiful melodies. I love these guys. Great music to edit by. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


Innerscape – Music competition for Episode 1 begins!

reworked-cover-final-1Good evening, good afternoon and good morning. 🙂

Innerscape Episode 1 is live on Amazon, and from November 14, 2016 to November 18, 2016, you will be able to download Episode 1 for free, and enter the Music Competition to win free music.

The Music Competition, which runs in lockstep with the free downloads, will give two lucky winners one of the following digital albums:

  • Elysium, by Jo Blankenburg, and
  • Vendetta, also by Jo Blankenburg.

This is a video clip of one of my favourite tracks from Elysium.

And this one is a making-of type video clip that features snippets from Vendetta.

If you don’t like these albums, or miss out for some reason, don’t worry – there will be two new albums up for grabs with Episode 2.

To enter the Music Competition, all you have to do is answer a simple question based on the excerpt from Innerscape, found in the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ for Episode 1.

You can find the excerpt here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3ZBKAK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1478992768&sr=8-2&keywords=kindle+Innerscape

Hint: if you read as far as the chapter entitled ‘Takh Ahn’, you’ve gone too far. But don’t let me stop you from reading further. 😉

And now for the all-important, multiple choice question:

Who is the Head of Patient Care at Innerscape?

  1. Kenneth Wu?
  2. Charles McGragh?
  3. Emily Watson?

Once you know the answer, type the correct name, or simply 1, 2 or 3, in the comments section at the end of this post, and that’s it.

[Sorry, only 1 entry per person]

Both the Music Competition and the free download days for Episode 1 will end on November 18, 2016. Yes, I know I’ve said that before but I don’t want anyone to get the dates wrong and end up disappointed.

On November 19, 2016, I will pick two correct answers, at random, from a big mixing bowl, and the names of the winners will be announced in a post on this blog. The winners will also be announced via Twitter so please check back to see if you’ve won.

To find out how you can claim your free digital music album, please read the Innerscape FAQ here:

http://wp.me/p25AFu-2sA

Thank you for joining me today, and may the Party begin!
cheers
Meeks


Innerscape FAQ

I messed up yesterday’s post because of toothache, so here’s all the stuff I should have explained before showing the covers:

What is Innerscape?

Innerscape is one very long story serialised in 5 episodes. Hence the numbers on the covers:

innerscape-episodes-1-to-5

What is the total Innerscape wordcount?

Total wordcount for all five episodes comes to 212,000 plus change. Divided by three, that would be 3 books of roughly 70,000 words each.

Why not just publish a trilogy?

Two reasons:

  1. Science fiction is traditionally about 90,000 words in length so I’d feel as if I were short-changing readers,
  2. The story simply refuses to fall into 3 neat piles. Instead, it evolved in 10 ‘parts’, 2 per episode.

How long is each episode?

The following shows the approximate wordcount for each episode:

Episode 1      48,000

Episode 2      35,000

Episode 3      40,000

Episode 4      30,000

Episode 5      57,000

Why publish Innerscape as a serial?

Each episode ends at a natural point in the story and is a novella in length; just right for a serial, just wrong for everything else.

[Note: According to Wiki, a novel is anything over 40,000 words, so technically episodes 1 and 5 are novels, but I’m not comfortable with that so I’m classifying them all as novellas]

How quickly will each episode be published?

I’d really like to publish episode 5 in time for Christmas, so that’s roughly one episode per week starting next Monday, 14th of November. The extra week is my margin for errors, emergencies and disasters.

During the week between episodes, I’ll be giving the next episode a final edit-and-polish as well as running the music competition for the previous episode.

What music competition?

I suck at promotion, especially promotion that promotes me or mine. I have tried, but this leopard is too old to change her spots now. So what was I to do?

In a light-bulb moment of truly epic proportions, I realised that while I couldn’t promote Innerscape per se, I could promote the music behind Innerscape. All the musicians and composers who inspired me while I was writing are Indies, like me, and I can sing their praises all day without feeling embarrassed at all.

Then I had another light-bulb moment: instead of wasting my money on paid advertising, why not spend my limited budget on giving the music away? All the music is available in digital format so there would be no extra postage costs and delivery could be almost instantaneous. Brilliant!

From there, the idea of giving the music away via a competition was a no-brainer. And if there were five episodes, it made sense to run five competitions… -face palm-

So, there will be five competitions. Each competition will start when the relevant episode goes live on Amazon. Each competition will then run for 5 days and the winner will be drawn before the next episode is published. That’s the plan.

What music will be given away?

The following is a list of composers and music to be given away:

Jo Blankenburg

  • Elysium
  • Vendetta
  • Levitation
  • Feather Dance

Two Steps from Hell

  • Colin Frake
  • Illusions
  • Sun
  • Miracles

Audio Machine

  • Tree of Life

Roger Subirana

  • XII

Ten albums, one for each Part of the story. That works out to be 2 albums given away for each episode.

And that means there will be two winners for each episode.:)

Will people have to buy the relevant episode to take part in the competition?

NO!!!! No need to buy anything at all.

So what will people have to do?

I want this to be a fun experience for everyone, including me, so each competition will be very simple:

  • I will publish an article for each episode.
  • In that article will be a question with multiple choice answers.
  • In that article, I will also post a link to the relevant ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon.
  • The correct answer to the competition question will be in the ‘Look Inside’ pages.
  • Simply type the answer in the comments section of the article and that’s it.

How many times can people compete?

Please! Only enter once per Episode. While I’d love to have a million entries, the thought of handwriting each correct entry and folding it fills me with horror. I do have to sleep, you know.

That said, please do enter each competition. And Regulars? That means you too. Please don’t feel as if you shouldn’t enter just because we’re friends. This is going to be a party and I want my friends there, sharing it with me. Okay?

How will winners be chosen?

Every correct answer [for that episode] will be:

  • written on a piece of paper
  • folded
  • thrown into a big mixing bowl
  • and TWO pieces of paper will be drawn from the bowl. The names on those pieces of paper will be published in a post and tweeted.

How will winners receive their prizes?

I can only afford digital albums so each winner will have a choice of downloading the album via:

  • iTunes, or
  • Amazon

That means they will have to provide me with an email address that iTunes and/or Amazon can use to deliver the music. I promise not to misuse the email address with spam.

Will people have to sign up for a newsletter?

NO!!!! I never read newsletters myself so I won’t ask anyone to sign up for mine. Besides, I don’t have one. If by some chance you are interested in knowing what I’m publishing, I would love it if you ‘followed’ me on Amazon.

By following me, or any other author on Amazon, you authorize Amazon to send you information about any upcoming events from that author. It’s like a really to-the-point, mini newsletter that you only receive when an author has a new book to promote.

How does the Amazon ‘Follow’ option work?

The Amazon follow option is shown as a big yellow button beneath the name/picture on my author ‘page’. This is what it looks like:

acf-amazone-author-page

 

 

You can reach my author page by clicking on the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/A.C.-Flory/e/B00B1M04JI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1478817747&sr=8-1

…or by finding one of my books and clicking on my name as the author [blue link]:

acf-amazone-author-page-2

You will need to be signed in to your Amazon account to use the ‘follow’ feature.

Will Innerscape be given away for free?

YES!!! -cough-

Obviously, I would like as many people to read the story as possible, so each episode will be given away for free during the week in which it’s published [and promoted].

After the free period, each episode will revert to its launch price of $0.99.

Once all five episodes have been launched, the price per episode will rise to its normal price of $1.99.

I would love to keep Episode 1 free permanently, but Amazon only allows ‘permafree’ under certain circumstances, none of which I meet at the moment.

Okay, I think I’ve covered everything this time. It’s amazing how much better the brain works when it isn’t distracted by toothache!

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 

 

 

 


#Music to write by and give away?

This is what I’m writing to at the moment:

Evolicity comes from an album called ‘XII’ by Roger Subirana, a brilliant, self-taught Spanish composer.

I stumbled onto Subirana’s music via Jo Blankenburg via Thomas Bergersen [from Two Steps From Hell] via Soundcloud.

Just as an aside, I’ve discovered more music via Soundcloud in the last few months than I did in all the time I used to spend on Youtube. That said, I still go to Youtube to find most of the trailers and video clips I post here. -shrug-

Getting back to composers, Subirana is the latest in a growing line of composers who have played a vital part in the making of Innerscape. I know I’ve been writing about Miira for a very long time, but still, look at the list of composers I’ve listened to since November, 2012:

  • Jo Blankenburg [4 albums and some unpublished songs]
  • Thomas Bergersen [1 album, Two Steps From Hell]
  • Danail Getz [1 album, Audiomachine]
  • Roger Subirana [1 album]

Seven albums plus, and all by composers who are relatively unknown to the general public. I don’t know if all of those composers are Indies, or started out as Indies, but I suspect that many did, and that got me thinking about the type of marketing open to Indies in general and me in particular. Should I pay some huge corporation more money than I can afford, for advertising that probably won’t do much for the visibility of Innerscape anyway? Or could I do something a little different and use Innerscape to promote the music I love?

Honestly, that decision was a no-brainer. When Innerscape is ready to go, I will be giving away some of the music that gives the story soul. How I do that, however, still has me scratching my head as I want it to be fun as well as effective.

If you like any of the writing music I’ve posted on this blog, would you:

  1. like to receive it as part of some kind of promotion?
  2. would you prefer a promotion that used a random names-in-hat type approach?
  3. or would you prefer some kind of competition with 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize giveaways?
  4. assuming you ‘won’, would you be happy with me selecting the music on the basis of its relevance to Innerscape? That is, more of Jo Blankenburg and less of everyone else?
  5. Or would you prefer to be given a choice as to which composer/music you receive?
  6. As I would have to gift you the music via email, would you mind having your email address added to my [non-existent] newsletter?

Of all the questions, I found #6 to be the most vexatious. At a rational level, I understand the value of having a ‘captive audience’ of subscribers to send advertising material to, but at a gut level I also know that newsletters often induce anger rather than interest. And I really, really don’t want to do that to anyone who reads my stories. 😦

One alternative that does tempt me is to ask people to ‘Follow’ me on Amazon instead of signing up for a newsletter. The ‘Follow’ feature is something I use myself, and so far at least, I haven’t found it to be intrusive or annoying. Plus another benefit of using Amazon instead of a newsletter is that I wouldn’t have to worry about what to write in a newsletter – all the interesting stuff in my life already ends up on my blog.

So what do you think? Am I on the right track or way off base? Given how little real experience I have of marketing, any thoughts really would be appreciated.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


Felicia Farerre – a voice in a million

A few weeks back, I pointed you guys to some not-quite-released songs by my favourite composer, Jo Blankenburg. One of them was ‘Crater of Lost Souls’.

Well today, I have a treat for you. The glorious voice featured in ‘Crater of Lost Souls’ belongs to Felicia Farerre, and I found this lovely video clip of her on Youtube. Enjoy!

Meeks

p.s. And yes, more writing music. 😀


#Audiomachine – An Unfinished Life

Music has always played a huge role in my writing, setting the mood and acting as a conduit for the emotions of the story, so it has to be something I can listen to for weeks and months at a time – literally, the same music, on repeat, for hours per day.

For Vokhtah, this creative soundtrack was provided by Two Steps From Hell [TSFH]. For Innerscape, however, I needed something more emotional, and dare I say it, romantic. Enter German composer Jo Blankenburg. His four albums – Elysium, Vendetta, Floatovations and Feather Dance – have been woven into the fabric of Innerscape since its conception in 2012.

But what do you do when the music you have been listening to for so long stops taking you to ‘that place’? You go looking for new music, that’s what.

As luck would have it, I did find some stunning new music by Jo Blankenburg, but there was a catch – as it hasn’t been released yet, the only way I can listen to it is by streaming it from SoundCloud.

Now don’t get me wrong, SoundCloud is a lot of fun, but when you have a 60 GB download limit per month, it’s not quite cost effective.

-avoids looking at the Offspring-

As a result, I’ve had to ration my music, and that is not conducive to creativity.

But I digress. While putting together my SoundCloud playlist, I stumbled on the playlists of other people with similar tastes and thanks to one of them, I discovered Audiomachine’s Guardian at the Gate, which eventually led to their Tree of Life album.

Those of you who have seen The Hobbit may find the tracks familiar. As I haven’t seen The Hobbit it was all new to me, but the track, ‘An Unfinished Life’, grabbed me by the gut and hasn’t let go :

The reason I’m making such a big deal about this is that I’d actually heard Audiomachine before… and didn’t like their music all that much. The tracks were all big and epic, much like Two Steps From Hell, but without that lyrical quality that TSFH’s Thomas Bergersen brings to all his music. So imagine my surprise at discovering this lovely, emotional, soft side to Audiomachine?

The actual composer responsible for Audiomachine’s Tree of Life album is Danail Getz. Finding information about him has been surprisingly hard, but apparently he was born in Bulgaria, studied music there and did so well he was offered a scholarship to the US. From there he progressed to movie soundtracks before finally turning to trailer music.

I guess that’s where Audiomachine comes in because it’s not a band, its a company and as such, it probably ‘out-sources’ to composers like Getz as the need requires.

It’s kind of an odd way of creating music, but I’m not complaining; I have new writing music, I’ve discovered a new composer and hopefully some time in 2016, Jo Blankenburg will bring out a new album featuring the tracks I want to hear. Life’s good. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


#JoBlankenburg – Unreleased

I’ve raved about the composer Jo Blankenburg before, offering up video clips for your delectation, but this time all I can offer is a URL:

http://joblankenburg.com/other-music/

The URL will take you to Blankenburg’s website, and a list of his unreleased music. You can listen to all of them, but two that wring my heart are:

  • Aka and Alex
  • Crater of Dead Souls

I’d love to know what you think coz, frankly, I’d happily become this man’s one-woman fan club!

-cough-

Well, goodnight all. I’m off into my own little world now. 🙂

Meeks


Music to write to… The Realm of Levitation

I’ve raved about Jo Blankenburg’s music since Nanowrimo 2012, so forgive me if I do another little rave. This time I’m in love with a song off his relaxation CD, Floatovations. [The title of the CD comes from ‘float’ and ‘ovations’ in case anyone was wondering].The track I love is called the ‘Realm of Levitation’ and I finally found a lovely youtube video that features it.

Prepare to be relaxed. 🙂


Who is Alex Tang?

At the risk of boring you all silly, I thought I’d post one more, very short post about my mystery character, Alex Tang. It leaves a lot to the imagination, but I’m rather proud of how much I’ve managed to convey with these 400 something words. I hope this answers most of your questions. The video clip below is what I was listening to while I wrote. The track is called ‘Knights of Palmyra’, from Jo Blankenburg’s album Vendetta.

***

“No.”

The holos of the two government representatives glanced at each other before turning back to the slim, Asian man who sat perfectly still on the sofa opposite.

It was the older official who finally spoke.

“We do understand how bitter you must feel about your husband, James. But we’re pretty sure the people who set fire to the safe house were hired by Beaumont-…”

“If you refuse to testify they’ll get away with everything!” the younger official said.

Alex Tang’s face remained inscrutable as he said, “Your people should have thought of that before they left my husband to burn.”

“We’ve apologized for that a hundred times!” the younger official began.

“Steven!”

The older official cast a withering glance at his companion before continuing.

“Our people died in that blaze too, James. Jenny Martin was one of our best operatives, and she left behind a three year old daughter.”

The mention of Jenny Martin made Alex wince. He had liked Jenny. She had been a friend. And when the wall had imploded, shooting that ball of flame towards him, she had shielded him with her own body. Her sacrifice had saved his life…

“With two of his team down, and your husband…trapped under that wall, Phil Denning did the only thing he could…”

Yeah, he ignored Pete, and saved your precious witness

Pete, Alex’s husband of less than a year, had been furthest from the inferno. Trapped, but also protected by the heavy cupboard that had been blown on top of him by the explosion, he should have been the one to survive. Instead, he had died a slow, agonizing death.

Despite being blinded, and burned to a crisp wherever Jenny’s body had not protected his, Alex had remained conscious the entire time… listening to Pete scream.

“Won’t you at least talk to Phil? Hear his side of the story?”

Talk to Phil Denning? The man who had let Pete die?

A mirthless chuckle escaped Alex’s lips as he turned bitter eyes on the two holograms cluttering up his living room.

“I don’t think so.”

“But-…”

“We’ll let you think things over,” the older official said. “If you change your mind, you know how to reach us.”

when hell freezes over

Alex remained seated as the older official winked out.

“You know they’ll have to pull the plug? If you don’t co-operate,” the young official said. When Alex did not answer, he too winked out.

Alone again, Alex Tang turned his head towards the window. The glass was pristine once more, allowing him to see the Forbidden City in all its glory.

When he had first woken up inside Innerscape, he had smashed the window and thrown himself off the ledge. He had woken back in his bed. Unscathed.

But there was always more than one way of skinning a cat.


If only novels could come with soundtracks!

3 4 time in musicI have forgotten most of the music theory I learned as a child, but I’ve never forgotten the meaning of 3-4 time because that is waltz time, and waltzes have made me want to dance for decades. Oddly enough, 3-4 time is also synonymous with lullabies, where the music is as soothing as a heart-beat.

But what does any of this have to do with novels and soundtracks?

Back in November of last year [2012], I wrote a post about using Jo Blankenburg’s music as the inspiration for my Nanowrimo novel writing. The story I began writing is tentatively called Innerscape, and is the closest I have ever come to writing something romantic. The climax [excuse the pun] to the early section was a scene at a ball where my two star crossed lovers-to-be are seduced by a waltz.

Now why did I pick the music of a waltz to symbolize sensuality?

It’s true that I love waltzes, but there are other sensual images/feelings I could have used – such as water. The feel of water sliding over the skin has always been a very sensual feeling for me, yet I did not use a beach scene, or a scene in a swimming pool, or a bath, or a shower. Instead my mind automatically reached for a waltz. Why?

The answer did not hit me until I went looking for my Nanowrimo writing music again last night. I started playing Jo Blankenburg’s album Elysium, and suddenly I was swaying from side to side. Not bopping up and down, or tapping my foot, or jiggling in my seat – swaying.

I was not yet into the story, so without meaning to, I allowed myself to be distracted, and began counting the beats. One-two-three, one-two-three, one-two-three… Oh my god, it’s a waltz!

Once my conscious brain recognized that distinctive beat, I began recognizing it in song after song. And somewhere between ‘Arion’…

… and ‘Theogony’ …

… I realized the music was the reason I’d written a waltz into my story!

I swear, until that moment I had no idea the music had had such a powerful affect on me. Now though, it’s obvious, and may explain why I have to have Elysium playing [on repeat] as I start work on Innerscape again. The music is the soul of the story.

As all this stream of consciousness stuff was going through my head, I suddenly had this idea – wouldn’t it be amazing if books could have soundtracks? By that I mean, having the music as an integral part of the reading experience in the same way that music is a vital part of movies.

Just as an aside, as soon as I saw the cinematic trailer that accompanied Theogony I knew it had to be for a game, and I kind of suspected it was for Assassins Creed, but I wasn’t sure so I did some searching and yes, I was right – Assassins Creed III is the game. I’m tempted to buy it just for that promotional trailer! -cough- moving on -cough-

As an Indie I know I could never afford to pay Jo Blankenburg for his music, but if I could, and if e-readers were capable of integrating the music that inspires me, I would do it in a heartbeat!

The only thing I’m not sure of is whether readers would appreciate hearing that music as they read. Would you? Or would it be too distracting? Or would it depend on whether you liked the music or not?

I know this kind of tech may never happen, but I’d love to know what you think.

cheers

Meeks

p.s. Thanks for all your comments and extraordinary suggestions on the ‘evil corporation’ post. I’ll be writing an update shortly. 🙂


%d bloggers like this: